Who is hacking U.S. election databases and why are they so difficult to identify?

Article appearing in Reuters.com

This summer has been rife with news of election-related hacking. Last month it was the Democratic National Committee; this week, voter election databases in Illinois and Arizona.

The FBI has said that government-affiliated Russian hackers are responsible for both intrusions. Yet the hackers’ motivation is unclear. We don’t know whether the hackers were engaging in espionage, attempting to manipulate the election, or just harvesting low-hanging cyber-fruit for their own financial gain.

And we certainly don’t know who they are. The ambiguity around hacking makes it a powerful tool of governments because hackers can exist in a gray area and, if caught, be repudiated by the state that they are assisting.